I had heard some good things about it, so I headed over to The Little (240 East Ave.) to see GasLand. Alas, due to being "short listed" for a possible Academy Award for it, director Josh Fox was not available in person and instead joined a question-and-answer session afterward via Skype (which actually works pretty good.)
Fox lives in his family home in rural Pennsylvania and received a letter from a company asking for a lease of his property for hydrofracking — a technique for extracting natural gas from a specific kind of shale deposit by pumping a chemical slurry through a mineshaft at high pressure to fracture the shale. Not knowing anything about the process, he started filming (presumably shortly after) he started trying to contact the companies involved to ask some questions. Coming up dry, he decided to do some more research and found that fracking has been used in other areas and there was a correlation to contaminated water supplies. As you've likely heard about the film, the dramatic demonstration is tap water that can be set ablaze: the water supplies became contaminated with natural gas which then sputters and bubbles out the tap.
What is incomprehensible to me is that during George W. Bush's term, he signed a law that exempted hydrofracking companies from the clean air and clean water acts. Now, water supplies and air is highly contaminated in hydrofracking communities, yet the companies involved refuse to acknowledge that it is their work that causes it. The simplest explanation to me is that the companies know it is difficult to legally prove the source of contamination, so they offer no cooperation in assessing their role in the problem which makes it nearly impossible for residents to successfully get corrective measures taken. Gasland contrasts this with hydrofracking experts being questioned before Congress and insisting their methods are completely safe — despite that they are pumping known carcinogens and volatile organic compounds underground to fracture shale adjacent to natural aquifers.
My own take is that given the choice between contaminated tap water and expensive natural gas, I'll take expensive natural gas any day. If push came to shove, I could bundle up, insulate my house better, use localized electric heat, or start burning wood. But I would be unable to perform the filtration and fractional distillation necessary to extract safe water rapidly enough that I wouldn't die first from dehydration.
The argument is that there is plenty of water so it doesn't matter. And even though our bodies need a rather pure and clean water, there is presently enough, at least in the United States. But polluting these water sources is no good for anybody. In fact, as Gasland points out, the proposed hydrofracking in Pennsylvania and New York sets the stage to potentially pollute the aquifers that supply New York City, Philadelphia, and Delaware: some 15 million people.
That got me to thinking.
I think everyone has had fantasies of the "post-apocalyptic utopia": the one where the population is decimated, you and all the people you care about survive, and there is now a surplus of resources at your disposal — either a natural disaster, or in recent years, zombie survival fantasies. When I put the pieces together, I wonder if the wealthy, powerful people that head these companies believe they can achieve this sick fantasy. I don't doubt they are in a position to secure clean water, food, and shelter for themselves and all the people they care about. By supplying cheap natural gas, they are in a position to further amplify their advantage over everyone else. And if they also poison the populace — or at the very least make them dependent on corporate-supplied water — they may actually be in a position to live as kings while the world crumbles and dies around them.
While my prediction seems astonishingly dire and alarmist, I really can't conceive of a simpler rationalization. As I had mentioned, if I were working for one of these companies and they outlined the system, my first question would be to ask how the environment would be protected. And I certainly could not make a claim as those who were questioned by Congress. I really can't fathom how people think this is okay, unless I assume their goals include extinguishing the vast majority of human life on this planet.
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Yabu no naka no kuroneko(Black Cat) starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 7 p.m. According to the Eastman House calendar, "the eerie, doom-laden Kuroneko adapts a classic Japanese revenge fable, centering on a peasant mother and daughter-in-law who are brutalized and left for dead by a gang of samurai. Set in the countryside against a tumultuous, symbolic civil war, the women's spirits begin to exact ultimate justice on the men who wronged them."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
This afternoon and evening starting at 1 p.m. is It's a Wonderful Life in the South Wedge along South Avenue near Lux Lounge (666 South Ave.)
Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association e-mail][21+]
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
Jake's World or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, December 2, 2010 (Thu, Dec 2, 2010, 12/2/2010, or 12/2/10) Friday, December 3, 2010 (Fri, Dec 3, 2010, 12/3/2010, or 12/3/10) Saturday, December 4, 2010 (Sat, Dec 4, 2010, 12/4/2010, or 12/4/10) Sunday, December 5, 2010 (Sun, Dec 5, 2010, 12/5/2010, or 12/5/10) Monday, December 6, 2010 (Mon, Dec 6, 2010, 12/6/2010, or 12/6/10) Tuesday, December 7, 2010 (Tue, Dec 7, 2010, 12/7/2010, or 12/7/10) and Wednesday, December 8, 2010 (Wed, Dec 8, 2010, 12/8/2010, or 12/8/10).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.